The odds are good that if you have heard about sleep apnea, that you have also heard about either CPAP or BiPAP treatments. However, there are several other options that patients can use to help with their obstructive sleep apnea that is less costly, less cumbersome, and more comfortable than having to pack around a machine with you everywhere that you go.
There are two different types of sleep apnea. One is related specifically with your brain, not triggering your response to breathing. This type of sleep apnea is far less common than obstructive sleep apnea. Obstructive sleep apnea happens when you are asleep, and the tissues in your airway begin to relax. This can be your tongue or the soft tissues that surround your airway.
As these relax, they can partially or completely block off your ability to breathe. Your body then triggers you to wake up so because your brain is no longer receiving oxygen.
Many patients do not realize how frequently they wake up throughout the night, but it is often dozens or even hundreds of times every single night. This disrupted sleep pattern can lead to a wide variety of health risks, including fatigue, higher blood pressure, increased anxiety or irritability, increased chances of stroke, and an increase in the presence of heart disease.
Usually, the patient does not know that they have sleep apnea. It is more common for a partner to be the first to realize that they are not breathing regularly while they sleep. Sometimes deep snoring can be a sign of sleep apnea. However, in order to treat sleep apnea, you should first receive a diagnosis. This is typically accomplished with the use of a sleep study.
The sleep study simply attaches a device that monitors your pulse, respiration, and the amount of oxygen in your blood throughout the night. In the morning, it will have recorded all of this information to be interpreted by medical staff. They can determine the presence and severity of sleep apnea from this information.
Many sleep apnea patients jump straight to using a CPAP or BiPAP machine. These machines force air into your lungs through your mouth and nose with a tight-fitting mask. Unfortunately, these machines can be very expensive to purchase and maintain.
Many of our patients also feel that they are cumbersome and difficult to travel with for every overnight stay. Finally, the machines must use humidified air. Unfortunately, this means that the increased amount of water can be trapped into the hose and mask. If this is not properly cleaned, the masks can introduce illness and infection directly into your airway.
Instead, many patients may want to consider some dental options. There are two basic types of dental options to help keep your airway open and allow you to breathe and sleep through the night. The first type of device helps to hold the tongue in place. As you fall into a deep sleep, your tongue can still relax, but the device ensures that it does not fall back and block your airway.
The second type of device helps to advance or push the lower jaw into the proper position to keep your airway open. The result is that you get a great night’s sleep and do not deprive your brain or body of oxygenated blood.
Deciding which option is best for you can be difficult to do on your own. While you may have some initial preferences, it is important to work with a dentist to decide which is the best option for you.
If you think you have sleep apnea, or you have been diagnosed with the condition, call today to schedule an appointment. The staff at Steven H. Brenman DMD Family and Cosmetic Dentistry have the experience and tools you need to correct sleep apnea today!